Verse from my book, 'Savor Eternity,' collage by Rashani Réa
There is a space beyond
this need for wings,
or the wings inside wings.
Just know you are
Through a broken fence
the plum branch has been reaching
all Winter for the blossom
it already held.
Once known, the fragrance
does not need the petal.
Majnoon went mad in the forest
imagining that the daughter
of the King was someone
other than his own soul.
This poem was painted
with the light of the full moon
on the bone ceiling of my emptiness.
If you know who drove
you are truly my Friend!
I hear petals weeping,
singed with their own fire.
I hear seeds grieving lost goldenrod
and mountains gliding home on clouds.
I still follow the glistening pilgrimage
of that old summer snail
across the hosta leaf.
But I gave up world sorrow
for the hidden pain of love,
gave up charity and pity to gaze
into your face, where I find everyone.
With a single inhalation,
I bind and heal the wounds of
rich and poor, oppressor and victim alike.
My brain is busy with forgiveness.
Heart murmurs of gratitude in
both chambers, the empty one susurrates
“thank you” to the one that pours,
then offers back the ancient gift
of grandmother’s blood.
My temple is the ruined
my alter the sky.
We hold satsang in the wetlands,
the frogs, blackbirds, and I.
When in doubt, I take off my shoes
and walk barefoot in wet grass
at midnight, un-naming the stars.
There’s really no other way
to get through this miracle.
It’s not the world that makes us suffer,
friend, but our judgments
And surely, the last judgment
is the silence of a white chrysanthemum
bursting under the Autumn moon.
This is the Gospel of Astonishment.
You didn’t come to this planet
to worship a pair of sandals
or a white robe.
You didn’t come to this planet
to be for the party of the left
or the party of the right,
to be a Christian or a Muslim,
a Black or a White.
You did not come here
to get angry with reflections
in a mirror,
or get drunk on disasters
that never quite happen.
You came to be dumbfounded
by a dust mote,
to be torn in pieces
by laughter and pain,
then made One
by the tang of a berry
on your wild tongue.
Why waste another moment
arguing for or against,
when you could slip back
on a soft-as-moonlight
beam of breath into
the radiance you are?
Transmute the pollen of sexual yearning
to golden soul honey.
Make flowers luminous and cause
all gardens to share one light.
Balance the world on your hips and
move them the way cocoa beans ferment.
Be how the tongue gets sweet without sugar.
How all the Gopis love the same Bridegroom
yet each kisses him chastely, in her own
How heaven bubbles over into earth,
the sap fused with its petal.
On the borderline between your body and its aura
there's a marketplace for atoms of delight.
The contraband is innocence, the price, surrender.
Jesus was a bee-keeper, Mary a maker of mead.
So you should keep this secret
and store up radiance.
"Jesus said: The person who drinks from my mouth will become like me, and I will become that person. The hidden things will be revealed." ~Gospel of Thomas, 108
"Miracles" are natural phenomena occurring in energy at higher rates of vibration, energy levels which physicists have simply not yet mathematically described. When we say "vibrations of energy," what is the energy that vibrates? It isn't any "God particle," any "thing" that could ever be perceived by Consciousness, because it is Consciousness itself.
Our culture will be transformed, and the curriculum we teach our children in schools will be utterly changed, when physicists finally learn to include Consciousness in the equations they use to describe the world. Until then, the masses of humanity, including the majority of so-called "intellectuals," will continue to suffer the delusion that the material world is somehow separate from the one who perceives it, and the object is separate from the subject.
All great spiritual traditions share this in common: at their root is a methodology of meditation that infuses more and more Consciousness into every atom of the nervous system, for these atoms are in fact atoms of Consciousness. This method of meditation is not an out-of-body experience, but a hyper-embodied experience, penetrating and finally dissolving the duality, without denying its appearance.
We say, "without denying the appearance," because, while there is only One, the Many appear in the effulgence of the One. Unity bubbles over as diversity, while remaining One. There is only Consciousness, but it manifests as Subject and Object. Those who try to erase the appearance and live "as though" all is the same, get trapped in an ignorance even deeper than those who live in duality.
The truly "enlightened" are not those who deny the appearance, but those who know how to dance as Two while remaining at rest in One. They are not just teachers, they are shamans, who actually do what they teach. They dwell in the world, but not of the world. And for the greater good of all sentient creatures, they work with illusions, masks, and appearances, without being trapped by them.
Jesus was a master Shaman. He changed water into wine, multiplied loaves, and resurrected the body. Whether you take these "miracles" as real or symbolic, you arrive at the same truth about the world. And Jesus was not alone.
Those like him have walked among us too. Spiritually, they are elder brothers and sisters, not "masters." They irradiate the ordinary with extraordinary power, and illuminate the shadowed world of forms with the formless light of the Self. We may praise and revere them as Other. But their timeless message is always the same: "Do not worship me. Do not believe in me. Become what I Am."
Why waste your life believing
that the sun is above,
the earth below, only to
discover too late, too late
that starlight gushes from every nerve
just at the spot in your body
where dancing begins?
Why travel from here to there?
All journeys are over
but the deepening of now.
Your heart beat is the shaman's drum.
Don't move: be moved.
One treasure is left to find:
the light you were
before you started the search.
Spring is an intuition crinkled in cocoons:
your laughter can do something about that.
Ferns make fists all Winter,
waiting for your deeper breath.
Forget everything you’ve been taught
and take some responsibility!
Fall on your face in the blackest soil
among the murmuring golden bulbs
and confess, “This is all incomprehensible!”
Lay claim to the Kingdom of Wonder.
Fall down, fall down.
Touch heaven with your knees.
When you discover that
each breath is nectar
and the space between
your heartbeats is
the silence between stars,
and the one who
encircles you with
and the luminous hollow
of each nerve in your body
echoes with the sound
that created all things,
then you are rich.
You need nothing.
You can begin to live
in the moonlight,
the sensation of dew
on bare feet,
the smell of honeysuckle,
the sparkling transparency
of this perishing moment.
You had a dimple of tenderness
on top of your skull
when you were a baby.
Then bones closed over and sealed you in,
safe from the whirl of night,
its whispering invitation to dissolve.
But in some of us the portal didn't close.
The silken sap that oozes through our vertebrae
gets spooled back to its galaxy.
Our breath is a broken rosary of crystal planets
spilling into an empty glass.
Each sigh is unconditional surrender.
A black hole tethers our attention to no thing.
The glittering gyre of darkness reels us in,
dragging our roots toward fire like upside-down roses.
Yet our wounds connect us,
letting beams of moonlight in.
And when we break wide open,
one endless ray flows through all bodies.
Don't be hasty to harden your bruise
and proclaim yourself a healer.
Bruises are windows.
Be an opening, not a knower.
I know that it’s voguish to say
you are of the earth,
but for those who have no choice,
only half a Self dwells here.
The rest is there, watching what sleeps,
breathing uncreated warmth down to
the buried bulbs of a famished heart.
This flesh is made of fallen offerings.
The petals are edible.
And we know the Truth, not by thinking,
but by its fragrance.
Photo by Kristy
are "self-help" and "self-control" working out for you? For me, they
are illusions. "I" am not very helpful to "me." I can no more control my
life than a falling leaf controls the breeze. But I can surrender. I
can sink. I can fall into the Grace of the Divine.
As I get older, I plunge deeper into the sap, traveling down the stem, drowning in the seed. There I explode into a scarlet blossom of death, the one you see in your garden.
I am the wine you love to smell in those invisible breaths of pollen. I make the medicine drip from berries in your pineal gland. It clatters down a string of pearls in your vertebrae toward the place your songs come from. What kisses happen in the jasmine pistil at the center of your hypothalamus? I have seen them. They set off thunder under your breast bone.
I know what the sound of unseen wings in your heart means, and how often stars make wishes on your fingertips. I scent what inebriates the wind rummaging through your garden at midnight. If you knew what I know, which is almost nothing, yet much tastier than the knowledge of philosophers, you would not take a single footstep for granted.
Removing your shoes, your graduation gown, your underwear, you would reel glistening softly through the forest tonight, yes tonight! letting the golden moon make honey of your silence.
Photo by Peter Sheffler
Lump of anger moist
with of grief and pain.
Not gluten-free either.
Stiff beaten marrow, cold
of muscle and cruor.
Knead it, punch it down.
Let it rise.
Punch it down again.
Expand into a brown-gold
beam of dawn
permeated with the breath
of wheat fields.
Cook over coals of gratitude
until the fragrance melts
your heart and fills
the temple of your bones.
You are baked.
You are the golden loaf.
As long as you share this body
each crumb has the flavor
of the whole sun.
You didn’t get in this oven
to be a lump of dough,
to stay sticky and heavy
with anger, grief, and trauma.
You’re here to get kneaded.
You're the ancestral recipe
for good bread.
So punch it down and let it
rise again, filled
with an exhalation
And when it's finished say,
"Take, eat, this is my body,
the golden loaf given for you,
clustered with galaxies,
buttery with stars."
Then tear yourself into little
pieces and feed multitudes.
I breathe in darkness, breathe
out light, but pranayam is not my way. I bend and bow and honor the
tides in my spine, but asanas are not my way.
I savor the name of God, but the Word is not my way. I honor the Guru, but my path has no master.
Though I listen to the songs and suras of the wise, I follow not the Vedas, the Torah, the Qur'an.
I give to those in need, but the path of seva is not for me. I surrender, Lord, but even You, even You, are not my way. Parasam Gateh, “beyond the beyond,” is wherever I am right now.
With no chant, no alter, no eucharist or puja, I wander in the forest, offering
the silence of cedar, trillium, fern.
At midnight, soundless owl wings, bright knives of un-knowing, slice through the glory of darkness. Coyote howl is my song.
And because the light of primeval stars is only now arriving in my body, I am awake.
Each electron bathes in the glory of its origin. Every photon collides with the darkest particle of its other self. I follow the wordless path of this breath Om.
But my way is not a journey, it passes neither in nor out, but shatters every window between seer and seen, sinking every vessel in the ocean of transparency.
I have trillions of eyes, gazing into the well of eternal aloneness, where past and future kiss, annihilating time. This very moment is the diamond of my awakening.
I achieve the beatific vision of celestial mansions, simply by gazing at the motionless explosion of a rose.
Every religion a blood-colored petal of this, but I would offer the whole flower, the wounded bud which opens in all directions at once.
Where I Am there are no steps, no degrees of initiation, no levels one to seven: only fragrances, only dissolving.
Each lineage of masters is a pollen mote, but I have sticky feet. I visit the center, where the nectar is made in secret darkness.
Down where pistil and stamen touch in a throb of stillness, I make honey. Come, drink from my heart.
Photo by Aile Shebar
The plight of the spiritual ego used to be "holier than thou." Now it's "more traumatized than thou." But the plight is exactly the same: mind identifies with the story of its precious "me," instead of resting in the nature of pure awareness, which has no center to call me and no circumference to call a problem.
Good gardening is midwifery.
Don't be afraid to finger the root,
testing nerves of mycelia, sending thumbs
along the bone of Spring, blindly probing
the dark, guided by a spasm of bulbs,
turning the breached child toward its world.
Don't be afraid to tap absences, black holes
where fur sleeps, curled in a dream of moons,
seeds hunker in secret white heat, or to probe
among the buds where beaks weave
twigs into a whirling stillness for the egg.
Be your own ember.
The sun might disappoint you.
The destination is gray stuff in cocoons,
neither wing nor worm.
You pretend to know the conclusion,
but the journey dissolves in crepuscule,
a deer path winding back into the green
gloom of wildness, a labyrinth, with you
forever standing at the center, lost.
It's been raining all day. Feral poppies
poke red dwarf stars from vigils of loam,
enchanted by the grief of sky.
What is your knowledge compared
to the yearning of the shadow for its cause?
Let darkness be your asymptote. Bend light.
Winter nearly touches Spring now.
Just keep dancing at the center of dusk,
coaxing hyacinths to bloom
from the hollow between your thoughts,
encouraging clouds to breathe, push, crown...
deliver the raindrop.
Go back to the shock of your birth and just accept it without forming a concept. All suffering arose from the attempt to form a concept to explain the explosion of the universe.Go back to that moment, but this time don't invent a mind of shock like the one you invented before, and before, and before, all the way back to the beginning of the dream, the dream that is only a reaction to the unendurable astonishment of your birth. Have compassion for this mind you formed as a reaction to the explosion of consciousness. This mind has been contracting the cosmos into a limited idea in your head ever since that first moment. Now go back, T'shuvah, return. That is the only religion, the only prayer, the only path. Forgive yourself. Then don't react anymore.
Kiss the rose of creation, bury your nose in its fragrant madness. The flowering of the cosmos has no purpose, no direction, no plan, no design. "Design" and "purpose" are concepts projected onto that ineffable explosion by the fear-mind, and the mind is made of that fear. Now be born again without the fear, without the mind. Embrace the explosion of the rose, and be honored that you are the Witness. Just be the rose witnessing itself in the mirror of its own consciousness. You are both the object and the subject. The world radiates out of the brilliant mirror of your Self.
When you embrace the rose with all your heart, the flower is solid as a diamond and the thorns are soft as petals. There is only bliss, because there are no boundaries. Bliss is not a reward for getting it "right," or "understanding," or "finding" an answer to be sought. There's nothing to seek and therefor any search is itself the cause of suffering.
When this seeking for an explanation dissolves, bliss simply Is. The boundless pervades every appearance of boundaries. You
are the cosmic rose swirling with galaxies, atoms, barking dogs, children's faces, dandelions. And don't even begin to try to understand why you have a body. Evidently, the universe blossomed into your eyes, your ears, your nostrils, your skin, just to witness the ineluctable explosion of its rose. What arises in the total embrace of this moment of eternal birth is not fear, doubt, and confusion, but gratitude.